Tag Archives: Speedster

911’s 50th Anniversary – Niello Serrano Concours d’Elegance

I’d like to welcome a new contributor to Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres thanks to Geoffrey Horton who kindly asked Karl Krause to take the photo’s at Niello Serrano Concours d’Elegance which appear in today’s blog.

Karl sent around 200 images and since I’ve been celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Porsche 911 through October I thought I’d give the model one more look in today’s blog.

Porsche 911S , Nielllo Serrano Concours d'Elegance

I can’t be sure of the age of the 911 above but given that the distinctive 5 spoke Fuchs alloy wheels first became an option on the 911S in 1966 I’ll hazard a guess the car above in a 1966 or later 911S.

Porsche 911T , Nielllo Serrano Concours d'Elegance

There is a good chance that any Porsche carrying the distinctive #77 was once driven by Bruce Jennings who clocked up at least 30 victories mostly in Porsche’s between 1952 and 1981. The 911T with the distinctive solid alloy wheels appears to be the car Bruce shared with Bob Tullis in the 1970 Sebring 12 Hours. The pair started 46th and failed to finish.

Porsche 911S, Nielllo Serrano Concours d'Elegance

The #77 Carrera RS bodied Porsche 911S above appears to be the car Bruce shared with Bob Beasley and Bill Bean in the 1979 Six Hour race at Watkins Glen, despite a spin the trio started 40th and finished 18th.

Porsche 911 Carrera RSR, Nielllo Serrano Concours d'Elegance

Above is a 1974 era Carrera RSR bodied Porsche 911, it appears in the colours of the Gelo Racing Team though if it is one of the Gelo team cars I have yet to workout which one. If you know please do not hesitate to chime in below.

Porsche 934, Nielllo Serrano Concours d'Elegance

Bruce Canepa of Canepa Design raced several Porsche’s back early 80’s I believe the single turbo 934 bodied example above was one of them that was originally raced by George Dyer through 1977 prior to Bruce acquiring the car and fitting a 935 flat nose more usually seen on the twin turbo 935 models raced primarily in Europe. If this is the same car then Bruce Canepa, Rick Mears and Monte Sheldon appear to have driven it to a third place finish from 19th on the grid in the 1979 Daytona 24 hours.

Porsche 934/5, Nielllo Serrano Concours d'Elegance

Bruce drove several other 935 bodied Porsche’s notably with Gianpiero Moretti in the Momo team, at the time of writing I am not at all sure what the history of the flat nosed 935 bodied Porsche is, again if you know please chime in below.

Canepa Porsche Speedster 962 Twin Turbo, Nielllo Serrano Concours d'Elegance

Finally filed under outrageous road car is this twin turbocharged Canepa Design built Porsche Speedster which confirms Bruce Canepa’s addiction to fast cars.

My thanks to Karl Krause for sharing today’s photographs and to Geoffrey Horton for his help in procuring them.

Thanks for joining me on this “911’s 50th Anniversary” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a look at the final incarnation, to date, of the Ford Thunderbird this one driven by none other than Halle Berry. Don’t forget to come back now.


Cut Down Turbo Look – Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 Speedster

In 1950 US Porsche importer Max Hoffman suggested to the factory that they build a car that could compete with English sports cars, particularly the Jaguar XK120. Porsche’s response was to build what would become the Type 540 that Hoffman dubbed the America Roadster in 1951. In order to be competitive the car was eventually built in aluminium but the cost was so great, US$4600, that only 17 were sold and everyone lost Hoffman, Porsche and the designated coachwork builder Heuer Glaser money, Heuer Glaser lost so much they went bankrupt.

Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 Speedster, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

Despite the commercial failure of the Type 540 Hoffman convinced Porsche to have another go at producing something that could compete with the British imports to the USA adding that the cost should be below $3,000. Porsche ended up presenting a stripped down version of the 356 Cabriolet fitted with a removable windscreen for competition, a light weight soft top, for weather protection only, side curtains replaced the side windows and the car was fitted with competition type bucket seats. The Speedster was an instant success despite it’s minimal trim, even the heater was an optional extra to keep the base cost down.

Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 Speedster, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

Speedster production continued with model upgrades in 1955 and 1957 until 1958 when the model was replaced by the slightly more opulently appointed Cabriolet D contracted to coach builder Drauz at Heilbronn.

Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 Speedster, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

Given the success, at a cost of minimal profit margins, of the 356 Speedster it is perhaps not surprising that Porsche waited a full quarter of a century after the launch of the 911 before introducing a successor to the 356 Speedster in the form of the 911 Carrera 3.2 Speedster.

Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 Speedster, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

In 1969 impatient with Porsche to produce a Speedster 911 Porsche enthusiast Stan Townes created a Speedster by cutting the top off a crashed 1967 911 Coupé and fitting a cut down screen as per the original 356 Speedsters. It was not until 2 years after American CEO Peter Schutz had extended the development of the 911 in 1981 that Dr Helmut Bott turned his attention to an official factory built 911 Speedster.

Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 Speedster, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

The first public awareness of the new model came in 1987 when two prototypes appeared with removable windscreens and a number of other features including a Clubsport fiber glass cockpit surround that effectively turned the 911 into a single seat racer complete with roll hoop.

Nothing quite so radical was available when the 217 hp, option M503, 911 Carrera 3.2 Speedster went into production from January to July 1989. Two versions of the Speedster were built, 171 with the narrow body and 2,104 with the flared Porsche 930 ‘Turbo Look’ body as seen on today’s featured vehicle which is one of just 139 Speedsters equipped with the steering on the right.

Thanks for joining me on this “Cut Down Turbo Look” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow, when I be looking at one of the most radical street cars and desirable Porsches ever built. Don’t forget to come back now.

PS Some months ago I posted about a blog about a Buick Electra 225 Riviera that was supplied by Deal of Asheville NC.

Deal were taken over by Harmony Motors who operate a VW/Audi/Porsche dealership. Toni Burrell from Harmony has contacted me to let me, and you, know that Harmony are trying to raise $10,000 for the Mission Foundation Ladies Night Out breast cancer screening programme. Harmony are donating $100 for every new Volkswagen sold during October.

So if you are thinking about buying a new Volkswagen and would like to be part of the Mission Foundation Ladies Night Out fund raising drive and your anywhere near Asheville NC you better get your skates on further details can be found on this link.


Vauxhall VX220 – Lotus 116

In 2000 Lotus needed to upgrade the Lotus Elise Series 1 to meet new European Crash Protection regulations. At the same time former Lotus owners General Motors were looking to build a new sports car for their Vauxhall (UK), Opel (Europe) and Daewoo (Asia) brands that would eventually also be restyled for the Saturn brand in the US.

Vauxhall VX220, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

General Motors employed Lotus to design and build the new Vauxhall VX220, Opel GT and Daewoo Speedster models which are powered by mid mounted motors giving 145 hp normally aspirated or 197 hp in turbocharged form. Exterior design is credited to Niels Loeb and Martin Smith and interior to Steven Crijns.

Vauxhall VX220, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

Since the Type 116 is powered by variants of motors that were originally designed for Opel by Lotus while the similar Lotus Elise Series 2 are powered by Rover K series and later Toyota sourced motors arguably the Type 116 has more Lotus input than the Lotus Elise S2 with which it shares the same chassis design.

Vauxhall VX220, Pegasus Sprint, Castle Combe

The turbocharged version of the 116 seen in these photos as the Vauxhall branded VX220 was capable of reaching 62 mph in just 4,0 seconds with a top speed of 150 mph.

Vauxhall VX220, Bristol

Production of the 116 in all it’s forms except the Saturn ran from 2000 to 2005 at Lotus’s Hethel factory in Norfolk.

Thanks for joining me on this “Vauxhall VX220” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


The Welsh Twin Royces – Rolls-Royce Boattail Speedster

Gary L Wales winner of the 1984 Great American race for ‘antique’ cars is also a prize winning restoration expert who also has penchant for what he calls ‘Retro Design’ with which he aims to put together pleasing and fun vehicles for the road which recombine some of the best ideas stolen from the entire history of motoring.

Rolls-Royce Boattail Speedster, Palos Verdes Concours d'Elegance

Today’s featured car started life as a 1937 Rolls Royce 20/25 chassis onto which had been built a Saloon / Sedan body. The car ended up as a termite demolished derelict in Puerto Rico and in the mid 1980’s Gary acquired the chassis which is fitted with a 25/30 4257 cc / 259 cui six cylinder motor. 25/30 motors were introduced to the 20/25 chassis because owners were having bodies fitted to their cars which were too heavy for the 20/25 3699 cc / 225 cui motors. Note Gary has used double hinges for the bonnet / hood which nicely extend the line of the radiator grill.

Rolls-Royce Boattail Speedster, Palos Verdes Concours d'Elegance

Gary who by his own admission “flunked ruler reading” like any artisan turns his remarkable designs from his head into sheet metal using traditional techniques and tools, employing the work shop floor for schematic layout and traditional tools like the English Wheel.

Rolls-Royce Boattail Speedster, Palos Verdes Concours d'Elegance

For the Boattail Speedster Gary decided to move the motor, transmission and fire wall back a full 18 inches to give this car a longer bonnet line with the added benefit of improving the handling. The design for the wings / fenders was inspired by the French coach builder Henri Labourdette.

Rolls-Royce Boattail Speedster, Palos Verdes Concours d'Elegance

The dash board is original note the goggles are hanging from a map reading light to aid navigation by the passenger at night.

Rolls-Royce Boattail Speedster, Palos Verdes Concours d'Elegance

Labourdette also made numerous boattailed bodies back in the day, the wood work for Gary’s Rolls was cut by Gary’s neighbour John Maddocks who happens to be President of an Antique Boat Society.

Rolls-Royce Boattail Speedster, Palos Verdes Concours d'Elegance

The Philippine mahogany with darker Honduras mahogany edging is backed by aluminium from which the rest of the bodywork was also made.

Rolls-Royce Boattail Speedster, Palos Verdes Concours d'Elegance

If one lets ones eye follow the center line of the vehicle from the rear to the front it passes through the centre screen pillars which frame the Spirit of Ecstasy mascot on the radiator grill at the front.

Rolls-Royce Boattail Speedster, Palos Verdes Concours d'Elegance

If it is remarkable that Gary should build one such car it is surely all the more remarkable that around the time he acquired this chassis he acquired a second chassis of the same type and similar age which had served as an Ambulance in London during the ’39/’45 war. Gary made an identical twin of today’s featured Speedster and both are usually seen together. As with much else Gary’s Retro Designed pair of Speedsters have also become award winners.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton who took these photographs at last years Palo Verdes Concours d’Elegance, and to Gary Wales who kindly confirmed which of his Rolls Royce twins Geoffrey took the photos of.

Thanks for joining me on this “The Welsh Royces” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Big Bertha Power – Hupmobile Speedster

Hupmobile, founded by former Ford and Oldsmobile employee Robert Craig Hupp and his brother Louis Gorham Hupp was a Detroit automobile manufacturer from 1908 to 1940 which built it’s reputation on solid some say stodgy 4 cylinder automobiles.

Hupmobile Speedster, Desert Classic, C d'E

In 1925 Hupmobile introduced it’s first 8 cylinder model abandoning it’s traditional customer base with the onset of the depression as in pursuit lucrative top end markets.

Hupmobile Speedster, Desert Classic, C d'E

Raymond Loewy is credited with the design of this 1932 Speedster powered by a 103 hp straight eight motor, referred to in advertising for an earlier model as giving ‘Big Bertha’ power.

Hupmobile Speedster, Desert Classic, C d'E

The car featured, in these photo’s by Geoffrey Horton taken at the Desert Classic Concours d’Elegance, is thought to be the only survivor of three built that were aimed squarely at the market segment occupied by Packard and Auburn.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sending me the photographs.

Thanks for joining me on today’s Big Bertha Power edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


85% Stock Specials – Studebakers 1932 to 1933

Moving forward a couple of decades from yesterdays post today we are looking a couple of Studebakers that appeared at Indy in 1932 and 1933, thanks to photographs by Ed Arnaudin taken in 1962.

1962 012s

In 1932 Studebaker built and entered 5 boat tail specials for the Indianapolis 500.

Unlike most cars entered at Indianapolis at the time 85% of the mechanical parts used in these vehicles were stock items.

Indianapolis chassis specialist Hermann Rigling built the frames and bodies to accommodate the 200 hp 5.5 litre 336 cui straight 8 engines which were sourced from the Studebaker President along with most of the rest of the running gear. The finished cars were said to be capable of 140 mph.

The #22 above was entered for Cliff Bergere and riding mechanic Vern Lake who qualified 10th and finished 3rd in the highest ranking Studebaker at the end of the race.

Cliff from Toledo Ohio first ran at Indianapolis in 1927, this was his best finish which he equalled in 1939. By the end of his career in 1947 Cliff had competed in a then record 16 starts having led 25 laps of a record, at the time, 2,426 laps of racing at the Brickyard.

Cliff is remembered for having completed the 1941 race without a pit stop although he was overcome by fumes after taking the lead and dropped to 5th at the finish line.

He was due to drive a highly rated Novi in 1948, but an ill advised fuel tank enlargement rendered the car unsafe in his opinion, this was in part substantiated after he quit the team.

The popular and ultimately unfortunate Ralph Hepburn took the Novi over he ran at close to record speeds before fatally loosing control and hitting the wall.

In 1940 Bergere helped the 57 year old ‘Racing Mayor’ Ab Jenkins set a 24 hour average speed of 161 mph in the fearsome Mormon Meteor III powered by a 750 horsepower 12 cylinder Curtis aircraft engine at Bonneville.

1962 013s

After the modest 3rd place success in 1932 Studebaker returned to Indianapolis in 1933 with some improved cars.

For 1933 the factory supported cars again with a combination of Rigling chassis and and 336 cui straight 8 President motors appeared with more streamlined body work than in 1932.

The the Studebaker post race advertising and studebakerracing.com shows Studebaker entered a five car team.

The #34 shown here was driven by Tony Gulotta finished 7th highest place amongst the 5 cars with 336 cui President engines and one place behind a smaller 250 cui Studebaker Commander powered Rigling Chassis known as the Art Rose Special driven by Dave Evans.

Tony Gulotta from New Orleans finished a career high 8th in the 1927 American Championship Car Racing National Championship aboard a Miller.

Thereafter Tony focused his efforts primarily on the ‘Indy 500’ coming within 18 laps of winning the race in 1928 driving a Stutz Blackhawk Special Miller when a clogged fuel line sent him to the pits resulting in a 10th place finish. Tony’s best finish at Indianapolis from 13 starts remained his 3rd place finish in 1927.

My thanks to Steve Arnaudin for sending me the scans of his Dad’s slides and to E.B. of The Nostalgia Forum for identifying both vehicles.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s 85% stock special edition of ‘Getting a lil’ psycho on tyres and that you will join me again tomorrow for Ferrari Friday. Don’t forget to come back now !